Categories & Tags: Most “abused” feature in blogs

Using tags and categories are easy ways for bloggers to expand their global reach, especially with sites like technorati.  Check out Andy’s Goode Life Blog for a good beginner’s write up on using tags.

There’s a double advantage to having categories and tags:  one reason we’ve already talked about, but the second reason is to help your audience.  Maintaining a good number of categories makes it easy for you to keep readers on your site and keep them coming back for more.  Logical categories keep your blog organized and concise, which ultimately helps your readers stay focused on what they are looking for.

All of my previous blog posts (Pre-2009), I used a variety of different tags and categories, but after a while their meaning did not make sense.  I was left with 15+ categories that really all meant the same thing.  Therefore, I’m conducting the following experiment:  Quality vs Quantity

Details of my experiment (note:  I’ve moved all of my previous posts to “Archived Pre-2009”:

  1. My blog will eventually include no more than 10 Categories
  2. Each blog will be tagged with (at-most) 3 categories; if I find myself tagging blog posts with more categories, then I will need to rethink my category naming conventions
  3. During the course of one month I will monitor my search engine traffic from categories/tags I currently use VS others words that my audience uses.  If I find that users are finding me via other tags, I will start to adopt those in my strategy

I hope to find an increase in both the number of readers AND the length of time readers stay on my site.  This will be my primary PI (performance indicator) that I will meausre and use to determine my success.

My hope is to find a balance of the # of categories and how my posts are defined.  I’ve seen too many blogs out there with 25+ categories that seem too repetitve.  Ironically, the majority of the top technorati blogs have NO categories at all.

Please chime in if you have some great advice for using categories/tags.  I’m always looking to try new strategies.